Cover: America Classifies the Immigrants: From Ellis Island to the 2020 Census, from Harvard University PressCover: America Classifies the Immigrants in HARDCOVER

America Classifies the Immigrants

From Ellis Island to the 2020 Census

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Product Details


$45.00 • £32.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674425057

Publication Date: 03/26/2018


464 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 line illustration, 2 tables


A work of exacting scholarship and exemplary good sense. Perlmann illuminates as no other scholar has the process by which Americans decided how to classify immigrants. His account offers a much richer and more complex picture of the story than is found in any other work of historical writing.—David A. Hollinger, author of Postethnic America

Perlmann transforms our understanding of the history of government efforts to racially classify immigrants to the United States. He unearths a number of fascinating discoveries about a history that many thought was already well-known. His book will be essential reading for all serious scholars of immigration.—Mara Loveman, author of National Colors

We cannot understand America unless we understand race and immigration. To truly comprehend how these two histories overlap and intertwine, we need look no further than the United States government’s struggle to define, categorize, and count immigrants and members of racial and ethnic groups. It is Perlmann’s brilliant achievement to take what has too often been written as separate stories and tell it as one still unfinished story.—Kenneth Prewitt, former Director of the United States Census Bureau, 1998–2000, and author of What Is Your Race?